Sean Penn, Michael Douglas, and Julie Taymor heading to Westchester this week

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Sean Penn will be at the Pelham Picture House tonight for a screening of his new film, Into The Wild. Michael Douglas will be there on Thursday for a screening of his upcoming film, King of California. Both screenings will be followed by Q&As with film critic Peter Travers. ($45; 7pm; www.thepicturehouse.org; 175 Wolfs Lane; Pelham).

Up north a bit, Julie Taymor will be at the Jacob Burns Film Center for a screening and Q&A about her new film, Across the Universe, a musical using various Beatles’ tunes. The famed director will then discuss the movie with critic Janet Maslin ($20; 7pm; www.burnsfilmcenter.org; 364 Manville Rd.; Pleasantville; 914-747-5555).

(AP Photos/Jerome Delay, Venezuelan Culture Ministry, Michel Spingler) 

They asked, Billy Baldwin answered

tjndc5-5et5nbuqdlhdpza9ic4_layout.jpgIn a recent interview in the gay and lesbian newsmagazine, The Advocate, Brandon Voss asked Billy Baldwin the question nobody was thinking:

Voss: If the Baldwin brothers were gay, who would get the hottest guys?

Billy: It would have to be me, because I’ve always gotten the hottest chicks. I’m the tall, thin, good-looking, intelligent, talented, charming one,
and all the other brothers are all the other things.

Elsewhere Billy discussed the the burden of carrying the Baldwin tag.

<blockquote><div>Sometimes it can backfire, with Stephen being the holy roller, Daniel having the rap sheet a mile long, and Alec with his current exploits
in the media. One of my friends mailed me a shirt they were selling on
Melrose that said NOT A BALDWIN. I guess it was supposed to be worn by
geeky guys to say, “I’m not that good-looking.” But I wore it to a
party and someone thought that I was jokingly trying to hide my
identity, like I was ashamed to admit that I was in the Baldwin
family. [Laughs] Look, we’ve had a couple of weeks of bad press—Danny
got locked up, Alec’s voice mail to his daughter—but it’s not like I’m
ready to cut and run.</div></blockquote>

(AP Photo/Seth Wenig) 

Crazy dog lady Leona Helmsley not so crazy about her grandkids

tjndc5-5gbbarajwuaotht1l9c_layout.jpgWhat do you do if your dear old Grandma dies and leaves $12 million to her ugly white Maltese but leaves you nothing? That’s what two of Leona “Queen of Mean” Helmsley’s grandkids are asking themselves today, after it was reported that the billionaire hotelier, who died August 20th in Greenwich and is buried in a mausoleum at the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, left them out of her extremely-strange-and-kind-of-funny-in-a-sad-way will.

Helmsley––who went to prison for tax evasion and is reported to have once said, “only the little people pay taxes”––is remembered by many as the worst thing to come out of the 80s (besides leg-warmers).

Some of her relatives did benefit from her passing: Her brother, Alvin Rosenthal, who will care for the dog–named Trouble–will receive “millions,” according to the AP, as will two of her four grandchildren (offspring of her deceased son Jay Panzirer). However, the kids must visit their father’s grave site once a year…otherwise neither will get “a penny” of the $5 million she left for each (seriously, this sounds like some macabre black comedy).

The two grandkids who were cut off are Craig and Meegan Panzirer. The “reasons…are known to them,” Helmsley wrote in her will.
Also stipulated in the will: When Trouble dies, Helmsley wants her remains to be buried next to her own remains in the Helmsley mausoleum, which must be “washed or steam-cleaned at least once a year.” She left $3 million for its upkeep.
Also receiving money: her chauffeur, Nicholas Celea ($100,000). The rest will go to the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.

So, if you’re keeping track of her priorities: The dog gets $12 million. The good grandkids get $5 million, her mausoleum get $3 million, her driver gets $100,000 and her other grandkids get nothing.

Rest in peace, Leona.

(AP Photo/Jennifer Graylock)

CBS is going to improve Katie Couric’s ratings or make her die trying

tjndc5-5gb8f404wfmj7lha27m_layout.jpgRemember when Katie said she didn’t think it was necessary to don a flack jacket and head to Iraq to prove her bona fides and boost ratings? Turns out her new uber-producer, Rick Kaplan, thinks she does.

Next week, the CBS Evening News anchor will celebrate her one year anniversary on the job by reporting from Syria and then Iraq on a “high-risk tour,” according to Variety. Her last trip overseas was back in November when she accompanied President Bush to Amman, Jordan (which is less bomb-y than Iraq but still not exactly the Upper West Side).

Couric’s entourage will be skeletal, according to the newspaper–just Kaplan, D.C. bureau chief Christopher Isham, and editor Jerry Cipriano. The group leaves today and will spend the next week reporting before she begins broadcasting live on September 4th.

Kaplan says Couric’s presence has helped land high-level interviews with “reclusive politicians and alleged terror leaders.”
Couric is a single mother of two and has said in the past that that role would color her decision when it comes to taking risky assignments.

One side benefit of the 12-day trip: Couric will be out of the country while author Edward Klein hits the media circuit to tout his inflammatory “tell-all” about the anchor, which the Washington Post summed up thusly yesterday:

<blockquote><div>She’s conniving and self-absorbed and ungrateful. And shallow. And into younger men. And older men. She makes too much money, and she yelled at her husband. And she’s had work done. And she’s liberal. And she was mean to Ann Curry. . . . </div></blockquote>

(AP Photo/Jeff Christensen)

Whoopi’s swipe at Rosie?

tjndc5-5g5fdc0ucnk9fcbsak2_layout.jpgSeptember 4th marks Whoopi Goldberg’s first official day as the moderator of The View, where she’s replacing the fiery South Nyack resident, Rosie O’Donnell. The Oscar, Tony, Grammy, Golden-Globe-winner told TV Guide this week why she’s excited about her new gig: “I love to talk and I love these women. Because they have such diverse ideas about things, it’s fun.”

Then, the mag asked her, “Did Rosie’s nemesis Donald Trump call you to congratulate you?”

Her response? “No but Donald’s nice.”

Nice?!?! Donald Trump, nice? Is it just me or is that a slap in the face to Rosie? Hmmm. Talk amongst yourselves.

(AP Photo/ Louis Lanzano)

Brooke Astor dead at 105

The socialite grande dame passed away yesterday at Holy Hill, her Briarcliff Manor estate. Described variously as a “civic leader,” “philanthropist” and “trend setter,” Astor is often said to have defined what it meant to be in New York’s high society mid-century, and served as “the last bridge to the Gilded Age, when ‘society’ was a closed world of old-money families,” according to an obituary in the Times.

According to The Journal News, her reverend and friend, Charles P. Pridemore of the Trinity Episcopal Church in Ossining, was by her side this weekend, as was her son, when she passed.

<blockquote><div>I was with her a few minutes after she died. … she had her dogs – Boysie and Girlsie – I don’t know if they were in the room, but they were still there. She was surrounded by beautiful, fresh-cut flowers and the people who loved her most.</div></blockquote>

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Astor was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, in 1998, for her charity efforts.

She’s quoted as saying: “Money is like manure, it should be spread around.” She married into the Astor family when she was in her 40s. Her husband, Vincent Astor, was the great-great-grandson of John Jacob Astor, who made his fortune in fur trading and New York real estate. When Astor died, she inherited a fortune of $67 million.

Her charity work for places like the New York Public Library, Carnegie Hall, the Museum of Natural History, Central Park, the Bronx Zoo and the Metropolitan Museum of Art is well known. However, she also gave to the Apollo Theater and to various other community projects. She was also quite active in the village of Briarcliff.

Astor was born Brooke Russell March 30, 1902. She was nine years younger than the oldest known person in the world, who, coincidentally, also passed away yesterday.

(AP Photo/Marty Lederhandler, 1989)

Rosie O’Donnell in shoutfest with biker

tjndc5-5ff3o1efh7515m71iij_layout.jpgWhile most of us would cower from a confrontation with a guy on a Harley, Nyack’s O’Donnell is no such shrinking violet. She not only took on a rowdy biker, she forced him into retreat.

The incident happened in Miami on Saturday night. O’Donnell and girlfriend Kelli Carpenter were heading back to their convertible after finishing dinner when “a bald screaming infuriated man” ran toward their car screaming about his nearby motorcycle, according to O’Donnell on her blog.
“chill dude –
we didn’t touch it,” the former View host reports she said (in her trademark online haiku style).

However, it soon escalated to “name-calling.”

As we all know, Rosie is not one to back down from a fight, so even as the Harley rider began “snorting like a dragon” and calling the women “f***ing lesbians” Rosie held her ground.

O’Donnell says she stood up, raised her hands over her head and – smiling – yelled back, “CORRECT SIR.”

The biker then stormed off.

Maybe it’s time for Rosie to head home to Nyack.

(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Say it ain’t so! Angelina Jolie and the Bachelorette pad

Rumor # 2,671 that Angelina Jolie and Brad P(r)itt(y) are heading for a separation: Radar Magazine reports the mother of four (who spent part of her childhood in Snedens Landing) has been seen (solo) touring a $2 million 2-bedroom home in Laurel Canyon, which seems far from ideal for a family of six.

So what gives?

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“Rumors (at least in Español) have swirled for some time that the couple may soon part ways” according to Radar. Though, the mag concedes, “They could simply be looking to diversify their real-estate portfolio now that the home Brad shared with Jennifer Aniston is off the market.”

Nah, the breakup rumor sounds better.

(AP Photo/Stuart Ramson) 

TV’s most powerful teens

Forget Pitt, Clooney, Roberts, and Witherspoon…when you’re looking for the real power wielders in Hollywood think Disney and Nickelodeon. That’s the milieu from which TV Guide plucked its list of  the six most powerful teen tycoons. At an age when most people are planning their proms, SATs, and first cars, these six moguls are making multi-million dollar deals and overseeing massive empires.

Who are they?

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Miley Cyrus, 14, star of Disney’s Hannah Montana.

Zac Efron, 19, star of High School Musical.

Dyland and Cole Sprouse, 15, stars of Disney’s The Suite Life of Zack and Cody.

Emma Roberts (niece of Julia), 16, star of Nickelodeon’s Unfabulous.

And–of course–Rockland’s own Hayden Panettiere, 17, the breakout star of NBC’s Heroes, who, according to the magazine, makes somewhere between $30,000 and $50,000 an episode. The mag dubs her the next “Jennifer Garner.”

In a separate TV Guide story, the teen queen sites Grace Kelly as one of her favorite actresses.

<blockquote><div>My mom always said: ‘When you’re an actress, you want to be like that. You want to have that class, that elegance. Don’t be one of the wild, crazy girls.’ It was great advice. </div></blockquote>

(AP Photo/Chris Park) 

Kate Snow and Bill Clinton on Nightline tonight

tjndc5-5fw583lfvqxjnuftm51_layout.jpgWestchester resident and Good Morning America weekend co-anchor Kate Snow has been traveling with former President Bill Clinton throughout Africa for a series of reports on various ABC News shows. Yesterday she filed a story for GMA.

Tonight, she’ll conclude her reporting on Nightline with what TV Newser calls “an in-depth story.”

Snow has been covering the Chappaqua resident’s various projects throughout the continent. Yesterday, Snow described Clinton as something of a rock star.

<blockquote><div>In Africa, they seem to be on a first-name basis with the former President, shouting Bill, Bill. </div></blockquote>

Some conservative blogs have criticized her story for being overly deferential to the possible future first gentleman.  Tune in tonight and judge for yourself.

(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey) 

Glenn Close, twisted genius Goddess

I’m not a big fan of watching TV in the summer…especially if there aren’t dancing kids being criticized by crazy Fox judges. But, I couldn’t avoid FX’s new series, Damages, starring sometime-Bedford resident Glenn Close. Literally half the conversations I’ve had in the past two days have included, “By the way, have you seen Damages? It’s awesome.”

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So I bit the bullet and watched it last night. And now I can respond to everyone, “Yes, I’ve seen it. It’s awesome. Now shut up.” Here’s the thing, I’d watch Glenn Close give a stage reading of the phone book. She’s just one of those actresses! But this role is perfect for her–dark, strong, difficult to read. And you can tell Close is having a great time with it (I’m sure she’s been rehearsing her Emmy speech since she first read the script). [[SPOILER ALERT]] The closing image of her on a beachfront pier, effortlessly tossing the bloody dog collar into the sea, reminded me of Barbara Stanwyck circa Double Indemnity. She’s just so effortlessly cool, sexy, and vicious.

The show itself is twisted and fun–though I could have done without the gimmicky flash-forwards. Nevertheless, Ted Danson and Rose Byrne (who is quickly becoming one of my favorite young actresses) both give can’t-turn-away performances. Needless to say, it’s going to be a long summer.

(Added bonus: producers promise the plot won’t be dragged on for years. There will be a resolution to the story by the end of the season and a new story arch will commence next year. Thank God for that!)

(AP Photo/FX, Larry Riley)